This past year and a half have been emotionally tumultuous, so much so that you may find that yourself overwhelmed to the point of avoiding feeling at all. However, to achieve emotional wellbeing, you need to learn how to accept and regulate your emotions, rather than let them control you.
Here are some strategies that will help you boost your overall emotional well-being.
Practice emotional awareness
To achieve emotional awareness, you must engage in self-reflection. Ask yourself what you are feeling, why you believe you are feeling these things, and what might help you stop feeling this way. Your first instinct might be to ignore your emotions to avoid facing hardship, however, this could lead to you engaging in behavior that further damage your emotional wellbeing. Pay attention to your emotions so that you can learn to predict which situations, people, or thoughts negatively affect your emotions. That way you can be proactive about making decisions that may help you trigger more positive emotions instead.
Practice mindful acceptance
Emotional awareness plays a significant role in mindfulness, however, another important factor is emotional acceptance. To practice mindful acceptance, you must allow yourself to experience whatever emotions you may have without judgment. This may help prevent the development of secondary negative emotions. For instance, if you start to feel guilty about feeling angry instead of accepting your anger, then the guilt you feel is a secondary emotion.
To practice acceptance, try to not associate your feelings with “good” or “bad,” but let them flow naturally without labeling them.
Refocus your attention
Humans have a natural tendency to fixate on the worst parts of their lives or situations, but if you find yourself doing this, try to re-direct your attention away from the negative and towards the positive or even neutral. Though this practice is easier said than done, research supports the claim that focusing on neutral or positive aspects of a situation rather than the threatening factors may reduce anxiety.
Though you may think you find yourself in a stressful situation, there is always another way you can frame it so that your interpretation becomes more positive. When you reframe a negative situation as a positive one, you feel better. Instead of dwelling on the downsides, ask yourself how your current situation presents an opportunity to grow and learn.
Try emotional distancing
Sometimes you are too involved in a situation to see its place within the bigger picture. Practicing emotional distancing will help you put a “bad” situation in perspective by helping you imagine different scenarios in retrospect. For example, if you’re fighting with your partner, then try to emotionally distance yourself from the situation by imagining how you would feel about the fight in a week, month, or year. This way, you may realize that what feels like the end of the world now will only be a blimp in your memories later, which can help you recover from negative experiences more easily.
Use your imagination
If you are truly in a tough situation and there are not a lot of positive things at your disposal to think about, try to simply imagine positive outcomes. Your brain will produce similar signals as if you are actually experiencing what you’re imagining. So the next time you feel down in the dumps, consider imagining yourself in a good situation to trick yourself into feeling more positive.
Share your positive moments
If you experience something positive, stretch out its benefits by sharing the event with others that you are close to. Celebrate your accomplishments and fortune with others so that the positivity grows, expands, and lasts longer.